Monday, December 15, 2008

Cranberry Cookies - Lasang Pinoy Sunday Edition #27


We watched a children’s Christmas musical yesterday.

Children have all the advantages in productions – they can do no wrong. They can forget their cues, mess up their lines, or even do nothing but stand on the side – yet they are guaranteed to steal the show regardless. They are just too cute. Too bad they grow up so fast, huh? ;oD

The kids in the musical were, I believe, ranging from 3 to 10 yrs old with a total of about 25-30 participants. It was just a wonderful play with a very good message befitting the holiday season. The kids were amazing. Such wonderful talents displayed at such tender age.

But what’s even more remarkable to me are the people behind the scene– the director and production staff involved. They must be extremely patient individuals who are so dedicated in what they do. You and I know that it ain't a piece of cake managing 30 kids in one room. Their attention span is very short. Throw in some tantrums here and there and that’s a guaranteed formula for mayhem to break loose. How challenging it must have been to put together such a big production like that, yet they managed to come up with an awesome presentation. So my kudos go to them all. And of course, let’s not forget the parents. Their support and commitment in taking their children to rehearsals every week made everything possible.

Watching the kids musical yesterday unexpectedly made me nostalgic. I had been involved in a number of musicals myself as a kid, and I remembered my parents - my Mom especially. She passed away last year. My mother was my #1 fan and my avid supporter. As I watched the kids, I thought that my mother no longer has the opportunity to see her own grand kid/s on a production like this some day. This made me shed a tear. I just had a moment - blame it on Christmas.

Anyway, growing up the only thing I know about cranberries are those that of the bottled ones, juice -that is. Being from a tropical country, hardly any berries grow in the Philippine climate. (There’s only one place in the Philippines (up north) that I know of where strawberries grow – in Baguio - a hilly land that’s approximately about 5,000+++ feet above sea level.)

My first encounter of real, fresh cranberries was only six years ago. It was a surprise to discover that these particular berries are super tart! Thankfully, my friend Holly introduced to me these delicious cranberry cookies – hmmnnn... This is definitely the way to eat these fruits.
These cookies are a part of my friend’s family’s Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition. They are yummy! I particularly love the tang from the fruit balanced out by the sweetness from the glaze, and the texture from the pecan just rounds up everything. You won’t be able to stop eating them, promise! They should come with a warning sign like this: DANGER, THESE ARE ADDICTING!

My friend was kind enough to share with me her Aunt’s recipe of the cookies. And since then, I’d been making them every year during the holiday season.

In deference to my friend’s aunt, I will not publish the recipe here. But if you’re interested, do let me know and I’ll ask my friend’s permission if I can pass her recipe on to you. Email me at
I am serving these cookies to Lasang Pinoy-Sunday (La.Pi.S) Edition #27 (a weekly Food Photography meme, Filipino-style) and to Susan of Foodblogga for her Eat Christmas Cookies Season 2.

Come and help yourself to these wonderful cookies. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Apple & Horseradish Glazed Salmon

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…la,la,la,la..”

I found myself cheerfully humming this classic Christmas tune as I walked my dog this morning. I can't deny it, Christmas is evident everywhere I look.

Immediately after Thanksgiving, people brought out their varied Christmas decors and got busy with them. There are the lights, the blow-up figures, flowers, glitters and so much more. They come in different colors, shapes and sizes.

My own neighborhood has transformed itself into a mini-Christmas village – minus the snow, of course. Hello, we live in South Florida so the closest we get for snow are the myriads of twinkling lights that adorn the roofs and facades of most houses. It sucks that we don't get snow... or good, depending on your perspective. You decide.

Nevertheless, it’s fascinating to watch the decors going up all around me, with people’s creativity expressed in many different ways, on so many different levels. Some houses have modest decors, some barely to none at all, while some also go all-out you’d think their house is a store front showcase, or even better, a mini-theme park. It's Interesting. Captivating. Enchanting. Must be the Christmas spirit.

Even the weather has cooperated lately which literally added to the Christmas atmosphere that I’m feeling. We’ve had the most pleasant weather this past couple of weeks in South Florida. It’s been cool, and for those who know, having cool weather here is a real treat for us. This means that the temperature is between 40’s – 70’s. Just perfect.
In anticipation of the holiday feast, I’ve decided to keep my food as light as possible, if I can help it! I know that in the days to come, I’ll be stuffing my face again with food and sweets. This is just my pathetic attempt to relieve myself of guilt from over indulgence during this holiday season, you know.. :o)

Well, this salmon dish is perfect for those trying to minimize calorie intake (like I’m doing) at the onset of Christmas. This dish doesn’t scream HEALTHY, which is a good sign because food that look healthy most of the time means a BORING one, at least to me.

Truth be told, I approached this recipe with much skepticism when I saw the horseradish and the apple jelly. What a weird combination, I thought. But curiousity prevailed, so I found myself doing this dish. And am I glad that I decided to try. If you like some sort of a sweet-sour/tangy dish, then this is just for you.

Not only is this packed with flavor, but it is quick to prepare as well. And the best part is, it's still in keeping with with the holiday flavors --- with the APPLE jelly, ya know. ***wink***.

I got this recipe from one of my fave food subscription magazine, Cooking Light . This magazine is my go-to for light but tasty dishes. I am submitting this as an entry to Bookmarked Recipes event by Ruth of Ruth's Kitchen Experiments

PhotobucketApple & Horseradish Glazed Salmon
from Cooking Light

1/3 cup apple jelly
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
2 tbsps prepared horseradish
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick), skinned
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine apple jelly, chives, horseradish, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk.
3. Sprinkle salmon with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
4. Heat oil in a large nonstick, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add salmon, and cook 3 minutes. Turn salmon over; brush with half of apple mixture.
5. Wrap handle of skillet with foil; bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Brush with remaining apple mixture.
6. Serve with couscous, rice or any neutral flavored side dish.